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Mozart: Horn Concertos / Baumann, Harnoncourt


Release Date: 03/24/1997 
Label:  Teldec   Catalog #: 17429   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Hermann Baumann
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Import   
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews



MOZART Horn Concertos: No. 1 in D; No. 2 in E?; No. 3 in E?; No. 4 in E? Hermann Baumann (hn); Nikolaus Harnoncourt,cond; Concentus Musicus Wien (period instruments) TELDEC 0630 17429 (54: 19)


Mozart, while in Salzburg, was first approached about writing a horn concerto by one Joseph Leutgeb, but did little or nothing on it until he relocated to Vienna. Leutgeb (in some places the surname is given as Leitgeb) was a member of the Salzburg court orchestra, a close friend of Mozart’s father, and an established Read more performer in Vienna. It is recorded that he had performed horn concertos by Leopold Hoffman, Michael Haydn, and Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf there from the autumn of 1761 to the beginning of 1763. Leutgeb tried to combine his work as a freelance horn player with running a cheese shop that he had apparently inherited from his father-in-law. With the possible exception of the Horn Quintet (K 407), Leutgeb was to be the recipient of all of Mozart’s music for solo horn.


In Vienna, Mozart began his work on the delayed concerto, drafting the bookend movements (K 370b and K 371) within days of his arrival, but placed it aside and never returned to it. Mozart did not attempt another horn concerto until 1783 when he wrote what was once viewed as his Second Horn Concerto (K 417). In 1785 or 1786, Mozart started work on yet another concerto (K 494a), completing and orchestrating the spacious orchestral introduction, but abandoning it shortly after the soloist’s first entry in the score. Mozart’s next effort also came in 1786, when he wrote another complete concerto (K 495) for Leutgeb, perhaps as a belated wedding present. Traditional thinking places K 447 (what we generally know as the Third Concerto) chronologically close to K 417, but as some of the music is written on the same lot of manuscript paper as Don Giovanni , it probably dates from 1787. Further research has proven that the Concerto (K 412) was not the first but the last to be written, dating from 1791, the year of Mozart’s great Clarinet Concerto. When he died in 1791, Mozart had completed the first movement but left a draft of the finale, which was taken to Franz Süssmayr by either Constanze or Leutgeb for completion, a task that Süssmayr accomplished on Good Friday of 1792. Süssmayr not only ignored Mozart’s original accompaniment, but he replaced the middle portion with a paraphrase of the Gregorian melody found in the lamentation of Jeremiah. It is this corrupted version of Mozart’s intentions that was—until the late 1970s— heard in concert halls and recording studios across the globe, and included in this recording. For the last quarter century, it has generally been replaced by a finale (K 514) that is wholly based on Mozart’s sketches.


The revised dating of Mozart’s music for horn paints an interesting picture of how Leutgeb’s technique apparently changed over the years. The fragments (K 370b, K 371, and K 494) are in E Major, three of the four completed concertos are written a semitone lower in E? Major, and the final concerto (K 412) is a semitone lower still, i.e., in D Major. Apparently Leutgeb—who was in his mid-fifties in the 1780s—had begun to lose his chops, and when Leutgeb was pushing 60 in 1791, we find Mozart’s writing much less taxing in both range and technique. Mozart apparently had a genial relationship with Leutgeb. The dedication of K 417 reads, “Wolfgang Amadé Mozart takes pity on Leutgeb, ass, ox and simpleton, Vienna, March 27, 1783.” In one spot the orchestra parts are marked Allegro, while the horn part carries the marking Adagio. One finds occasional graffiti in the score as well, some of which cannot be repeated here!


This Teldec recording­—the first to offer Mozart’s concertos on period instruments—was originally released on vinyl in 1974 and remastered to compact disc in 1997. It was missing in action for a number of years, but thanks to the Feidners and arkivmusic.com, it has been restored to the catalogs. It spotlights Hermann Baumann in his prime (he was 40 at the time) and in top form as well. Baumann has mastered the valveless horn, and as a result he dispatches the music with an enviable aplomb, catching just the right tone on both open and stopped notes and producing runs and trills that are nothing short of astounding. His technique is—in a word­—flawless and leaves nothing to be desired. The expert playing and measured pace provided by Harnoncourt’s little band is sophisticated and elegant, with a transparent but never anemic sound that nicely complements Mozart’s wind coloration.


The bottom line is this: more than a quarter century after its release, Baumann’s readings still stand tall, proud, and unflinching. That’s why you’re reading about them in Fanfare ’s Classical Hall of Fame!


FANFARE: Michael Carter
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Horn no 1 in D major, K 412 (386b) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Hermann Baumann (Horn)
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Concerto for Horn no 2 in E flat major, K 417 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Hermann Baumann (Horn)
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1783; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Concerto for Horn no 3 in E flat major, K 447 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Hermann Baumann (Horn)
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784-1787; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Concerto for Horn no 4 in E flat major, K 495 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Hermann Baumann (Horn)
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 

Featured Sound Samples

Horn Concerto no 2: I. Allegro maestoso
Horn Concerto no 4: III. Rondo: Allegro vivace

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